HRCP demands probe into firing on car by security forces

Subject: HRCP demands probe into firing on car by security forces

Lahore, December 3: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern over injuries to a seven-year-old girl in firing by Frontier Corps personnel on a car in Peshawar, and demanded a credible probe into the incident.

A statement issued by the commission on Thursday said: “The girl was apparently injured when her family’s car approached a security forces’ convoy. Amid a heightened threat of terrorism, it is all the more important that the security forces take every possible precaution to ensure that civilians are not affected by their actions. The government must immediately hold a transparent inquiry to ascertain what led to the tragic incident and how it could have been avoided. It must also ensure that the child is provided the best medical facilities and the family is compensated. The incident highlights the need for improved procedure for the security forces to distinguish between civilians and terrorists.”

I. A. Rehman  
Secretary General

HRCP condemns attack on columnist

LAHORE, 2 December: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the attack on the house of renowned columnist Kamran Shafi and described it as a cowardly bid to stifle the country’s media.

An HRCP statement issued on Wednesday reads as following:

The attack on journalist Kamran Shafi’s house in Wah on the eve of Eid cannot be dismissed as an ordinary crime, it constitutes a cowardly attack on the country’s media, and a threat to all independent-minded journalists. Shafi, himself a retired major of the army, is a vocal critic of defence services’ role in affairs of the state and had suggested in a recent column that the country’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI, should be headed by a civilian. The columnist said he received abusive e-mails on this point of view soon after he had expressed it. Then on Nov 27, a gunman fired six times at his house late at night. In his complaint to the police, Shafi said the attackers were linked to unidentified ‘agency.’  

The attack on Shafi is not the first of its kind. Several other noted journalists have faced similar threats and abuses in the past and umazingly the culprits always remain unidentified and go unpunished. Besides, the targets happen to be journalists whose views disagree with those of the security establishment. Not a single perpetrator of such crimes has been apprehended, which strengthens the belief that some rogue elements within the establishment are involved.

Whatever freedom Pakistani media enjoys today has been gained after an arduous struggle and it should now forge unity to safeguard that freedom. HRCP demands the authorities must hold a credible and independent inquiry into the attack and punish severely those found guilty. Needless to say, that in the age of information technology attempts to muzzle the media are self-defeating.    

I. A. Rehman  
Secretary General